The Neverending Story
Michael Ende, 1984
[Bastian is reading the story of Atreyu in the land of Fantasia]
|Oracle:||To fight the Nothing, get the Empress a new name… No one from Fantasia can choose it. Only a human child can name her.|
|Atreyu:||A human child? Where do I find one?|
|Oracle:||Beyond the boundaries of Fantasia.|
|Atreyu [many miles later]:||I can't find the boundaries of Fantasia!|
|Gmork:||Don't you know anything about Fantasia? It's the world of human fantasy. It has no boundaries.|
|Atreyu:||Then why is Fantasia dying?|
|Gmork:||People have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams so the Nothing grows stronger.|
|Atreyu:||What is the Nothing?|
|Gmork:||It's the emptiness that is left. And I have been trying to help it … because people who have no hopes are easy to control.|
|[With Fantasia now shattered into asteroids, Atreyu returns to Empress]|
|Atreyu:||I have failed you Empress.|
|Empress:||No you haven't. You've brought him with you.|
|Empress:||The Earthling child who can save us all.|
|Atreyu:||You knew about the Earthling child?|
|Empress:||I knew everything.|
|Atreyu:||My horse is dead. I nearly drowned. I barely got away from the Nothing. For what?!|
|Empress:||It was the only way to get in touch with an Earthling.|
|Atreyu:||But I didn't get in touch with an Earthling.|
|Empress:|| Yes you did. He has suffered with you and now he has come here with you. He is
very close, listening to every word we say.
|Atreyu:||Where is he? If he's so close, why doesn't he arrive?|
|Empress:||He doesn't realize he's already a part of the Neverending Story.|
|Empress:||Just as he is sharing all your adventures, others are sharing his. They were with him when he took the book with the Orrin symbol on the cover in which he's reading his own story right now.|
|Bastian:||But that's impossible! They can't be talking about me!|
|Atreyu:||If he can stop the Nothing, why doesn't he save us?|
|Empress:||He can't imagine that one little child can be that important.|
|Bastian:||It's only a story! It's not real! It's only a story!|
|Empress:||Bastian, why don't you do what you dream?|
|Bastian:||But I can't! I have to "keep my feet on the ground"!|
What is that?
|Empress:||One grain of sand. It's all that remains of my vast empire.|
|Bastian:||It's all disappeared? Then it's all been in vain.|
|Empress:||No it hasn't. […] What do you wish for? You get as many wishes as you want, and the more wishes you make, the more magnificent Fantasia will become.|
The Empress's statement to Atreyu "Just as he is sharing all your adventures, others are sharing his" hits both Bastian and the audience. Just like Bastian discovers he is a character in someone else's fiction, I must ask "Am I a character in someone else's fiction?". I discover that indeed I am: Just like Atreyu discovered that he is Bastian (at the second gate when he had to face his true self) and that he is a figment of Bastian's imagination, I discover I am a figment of my imagination. Since I am a character in my own fiction, I can make myself [and my relation with my world] fantastic [fantasy-like].
*** "You are a character. That doesn't mean you have character." Pulp Fiction's Mr. Wolf ***
Bastian is reading the story of Atreyu in the land of Fantasia. To save Fantasia, Atreyu must find a human child. To find a human child he must get beyond the boundaries of Fantasia. He discovers Fantasia has no boundaries - it is the world of human fantasy - and so it is infinite. So if there are no boundaries to Fantasia, how can Atreyu get beyond them to find a human child? By undergoing adventures, Atreyu brought Bastian into the world of Fantasia.
Fantasia's infinite potential is going to waste: where land was, nothing is, because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. Some people are helping the Nothing because "people who have no hopes are easy to control".
We see our lives through our imagination - predicting and engaging based on narratives' outcomes. Thus we are characters in our own fictions. Metafiction enables us to consciously play with our reality.
A novelist's fictional person is often deeper, more vivid,
dynamic and multi-dimensional than a real person. A real person can go to a novelist and say: create a character out of me (e.g. for hallowe'en); give me character.
Better yet, with this revelation I have also discovered my creative ability; I
will create myself.
Imagiscape, cultivating fantasia.
Religions, including atheism, are better appreciated when understood as artistic interpretations. Fabulate! Create Pragmatic Poetry!